AUSTIN (KXAN) — The San Antonio Spurs, along with the city of Austin and the Austin Parks Foundation, unveiled a refurbished basketball court in the Dove Springs neighborhood this week as the start of a new program to upgrade some of the parks around the city.
The initiative, known as Play ATX, is a $500,000 investment to build and refurbish five basketball courts around the city. The money was donated by Spurs Give and the Austin Parks Foundation (APF).
Play ATX plan
Dove Springs District Park was the first park identified to have the refurbished park. Colin Wallis, the CEO of APF said the Dove Springs park had the most need for a new basketball court.
“It means a ton. We’re super excited to work with the Spurs and the city to get these things done and hopefully it’s just the beginning of a whole lot more to come,” Wallis explained.
The other four courts will be finished in the upcoming years. It is not yet clear which areas will receive the refurbished, Spurs-themed courts, but the parties involved are working to identify the four other parks, according to a Spurs spokesperson.
Origin of the program
The court unveiling happened right before the first ever NBA games played in Austin. The Spurs will tip-off against the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday night and the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night. Both games will be played at the Moody Center.
The Spurs are trying to grow its market and attract fans from its neighbors north on I-35. As the team tries to grow, it wants to bring a positive impact to the communities it expands in.
“It’s not just about entering another space for us, it’s actually about allowing another community to let us in and let us play together,” Dr. Kara Allen, the team’s chief impact officer, explained.
The Spurs started a similar program in its hometown called Play SATX to refurbish public courts. Former Spurs player, and former Texas Longhorn, LaMarcus Aldridge told his organization that community courts were a big reason he played the game as he was growing up.
“Having a local basketball court that is free and easy to access is the reason he stayed in sport. It’s the reason he continued to play,” Dr. Allen said.
The Spurs started refurbishing courts in San Antonio and have now brought the program to Austin.
As part of the unveiling of the court, kids from the southeast Austin area got the chance to play on the court with some ball-handling and shooting drills.